UPDATE: 3/3/10 Guru released a statement saying he is recovering.
Rap blogs are all over Guru´s hospitalization. The rapper, once known as MC Kiethy E, seemed to have had a busy touring schedule and just released a free album online. Gang Starr´s music, for us 80s babies, was part of our high school soundtrack. Guru´s voice helped you deal with break-ups, your own inner demons and the proverbial streets.
I remember him as one of the first rappers to claim one place while being for another. In the rap world, where authenticity is necessary, he got a sort of pass I don´t think a lot of rappers claiming Brooklyn could have gotten away with. He clearly raps with a Boston accent on so many records.
Author Mickey Hess actually analyzes Guru´s hometown mentions in a blog post. In it, he´s addressing concerns from an editor about Guru and the early Boston rap scene. The exchange concerns Hess´book on regional hiphop.
Looking at this data confirms my sense that in the early years Guru used New York (and particularly Brooklyn) as his rhetorical home base. While it resolved my editor’s question, it doesn’t speak to the deeper (and perhaps more controversial) question about how Guru’s Boston references compared to those of other early Boston rappers.
Guru was never my favorite solo rapper, it was his pairing with DJ Premier that made hip-hop magic. Even he admitted it was ¨Mostly Tha Voice,¨ that created his appeal. Still, a rapper way past his prime, Guru was one of the bold names among rap´s golden age in the 90s, plus, he introduced so many of us to French rap (as seen in the video above).
As hiphop fans we forgave him for the breakup of Gang Starr and forgave him for trying to act, and it was mostly because he was an artist with so much classic material under his belt.
For more on Guru check out this Rolling Stone article on his third Jazzmatazz album, 10 years ago; audio interview from last summer with the Philaflava blog; download his free album, ¨Guru 7.0 – The Street Sciptures¨ and for Spanish speaking rap fans, here´s why Guru ¨He llevado el hip hop a otro nivel.¨